I was able to trace my family back quite far by looking through the years I thought were likely to be the birth years of my relatives and finding the person who's name and parents' names match. Then you can look for the parent's marriage records to find their parents names. It's time consuming, but fun.... sort of like playing detective.
The 1911 and 1901 censuses are also great sources (http://automatedgenealogy.com/). If you look at the original pdf's (click 'split view' at the top of the page) you can see the information about place of work, wages and literacy.